40 Man Merch is founded and operated by Leah Scarsone, daughter of Steve Scarsone, retired MLB infielder and current Minor League instructor
The Player's Daughter- Leah Scarsone
"I was the girl wearing her dad's authentic jersey to school on "Sports Day," seeking attention from classmates and teachers, trying to fill the void of a missing parent at home. Don't get me wrong, my (baseball) childhood was magical. I was stadium royalty; my "big brothers" were superstars, I ran scoreboards, hung out with mascots, had unlimited concession stand credit, spent batting practice in dugouts drinking slurpies, and everyone knew my name. The experiences, the people, the perks; it was glamorous. Being born and raised in the world of Major League Baseball was unforgettable, but the reality; the home life, was completely abnormal, and I soon became aware of how much I was missing out on.
Whether they were simple instances like seeing my classmates' dads at school events, or having a friends dad at the dinner table during a playdate, I soon realized those "simple" things were part of a family picture I had been deprived of. When baseball seasons were over and my dad was home, life still wasn't normal. My mom, brother, and I had our own reality outside of baseball, outside of his world. While he was away, we were living the day to day: school drop offs, homework nights, dance recitals; etc. And when he was home, he was an outsider- not knowing how our days worked or what they consisted of. He didn't fit into our world; it was like having a stranger in the house. In my pre-teen mind, I couldn't grasp the reason why that was. To me, baseball was more important to my dad than his family, which evidently led to years of resentment.
As I grew older and his coaching career commenced, I finally began to comprehend the truth in my illogical reasoning. I realized that my dad had a gift; an immense talent in the sport of baseball, and was lucky enough to make it a career; a career so rare for the average person. And although he was gone for the majority of my childhood, it wasn't for the fame, glory, money, or self-accomplishment. It was for no other reason than to provide for his family at home. But even during those years of resentment, tears, and accusations, I never blamed the sport. I never blamed the sole reason for his absence. Why? Because we had the same passion for the game. We shared that love. And that right there was the turning point. That's when it was clear that the "stranger" in my house was my baseball-blooded best friend.
Fast forward to today, now 24 years old, that love between us has grown into an eternal bond. As an adult, I have a much more logical sense of the baseball lifestyle. I've lived in its glamorous spotlight, and suffered in its reality. I am now able to appreciate the entirety of that life and the game itself. As fun as it was to be the player's daughter, being the coach's daughter is indescribable. My superstar "big brothers" are now my friends, I sit in the stands during games instead of in the family suites, embracing the love that radiates from the fans, I leave the scoreboards for the professionals, and the dugouts for the boys. I went from the girl wearing her dad's jersey, feeling lost and incomplete, to the woman streaming the games on my phone or in my car, making mental note of every play I want to discuss during our nightly call. The irony in this whole story is that I actually feel closer to him while he's away. I am no longer a victim of the baseball life, but living its reality to the fullest.
Fast, fast forward to right now, where this unhinged life has given me the opportunity, drive, and passion to create my own career alongside none other than my baseball-blooded best friend. With my vast work experience and education in the t-shirt industry, and my dad's role in the greatest sport of all time, we present to you, 40 Man Merch."
The Player- Steve Scarsone
"BASEBALL. I can’t remember a time when this game wasn't part of my life. For nearly four decades, baseball has defined me. It has given me direction and an identity. It has taken me to all corners of America as well as abroad. Baseball has become my life’s work. You could say it’s in my blood.
Growing up in Anaheim, California in the 70’s, I played ball in the street with the neighborhood kids until the street lights came on. I played “Park and Rec” baseball when I was 4 years old, and pretty much haven’t stopped since. Baseball has always made sense to me. I have always marveled at how the game is designed; 90 feet between bases, 60 feet 6 inches from the mound, 4 balls, 3 strikes (sometimes I wished there were 4 or 5 strikes). There is a flow to the game; a rhythm, and I have always been on the same wavelength.
My baseball journey has been long and rewarding. I’ve played 14 professional seasons (nearly half of them in the Major Leagues), and am now in my 13th season as a coach. I was drafted by the Phillies in 1986 in the second round, and played my first pro game in Bend, Oregon in the Northwest League. (This was not a memorable season, nor were the next couple of summers to follow.) I struggled, to say the least, but things eventually fell into place, and the game rewarded me for my hard work and perseverance. I’ll never forget a particular game on a warm, sticky, summer night in Richmond, Virginia, in 1992. I was playing second-base for the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons (then a Phillies AAA affiliate), and following the game, my manager, Lee Elia, called me into his office to give me the unexpected news that every kid wants to hear: …”You’re going the Big Leagues, Son.”
On May 15, 1992 I played in my first Major League game. I played 2nd Base for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Cincinnati Reds: Terry Mulholland vs. Tom Browning. Terry Mulholland threw a 5-hit shutout as we won 8-0. I went 1 for 4 with a BB, getting my first Major League hit on a clean base hit to LF off of Scott Ruskin, a veteran lefty reliever. As I got to 2nd base later in the inning, HOF SS Barry Larkin congratulated me for making it to the Big Leagues. The fact that he made that effort had an impact on me, and throughout my career, I did my best to continue that gesture.
After two short stints with the Phillies and the Orioles, I stuck with the San Francisco Giants. One of the most memorable games for me was on April 18, 1996, at Wrigley Field. I was starting at 2nd Base, batting 2nd for the SF Giants, while in the 2 hole, playing 2nd Base for the Cubs, was my favorite player, Ryne Sandberg. Just the idea of standing on the same dirt as Sandberg was so cool.
I enjoyed a modest career as a utility infielder and hit a whopping .239 lifetime. Not bad for a bench guy. After my playing days, I remained in the game as a coach, managing for 10 seasons, mostly in the Oakland A’s system, including 4 seasons managing in AAA. In 2016, I was awarded PCL Manager of the Year after taking the Nashville Sounds to the playoffs. In 2017, I started as Defensive Coordinator for the A’s, and ended up as their Third-base Coach for the second half of the season. I currently travel the country as the A’s Baserunning Coordinator.
When my daughter, Leah, decided that she wanted to start an online t-shirt company, I was supportive. But when she said she wanted it to be baseball themed, I was all in. As you can imagine, baseball has been a huge part of her life as well. She has been carted all over the country from my playing days to my coaching days. She has grown up with today’s Major-League players, and knew them as “Dad’s players” before they were stars. She has a deep-rooted respect for the game and for those who play it. You could say it’s in her blood."
40 Man Merch…for the love of BASEBALL